How long does it take someone who knows what they’re doing to break into a computer and read files saved on its hard-drive? Less than two minutes.
That’s how long it took the winner of a hacking contest conducted at the CanSecWest IT security conference in the US last week to take the PWN 2 OWN comp by breaking into a MacBook Air laptop and read the contents of a file on its system, InfoWorld reports.
Show organizers offered US$10,000 a Sony Vaio, Fujitsu U810, and the MacBook as prizes to the first person who could hack into them.
The winner, Charlie Miller, directed the laptop user to visit a website (this was allowed under the rules) that contained a bit of malicious code he had created. Two minutes later, he had seized control of the laptop.
This isn’t the first time Miller has pulled off an impressive feat of hackery – last year he was one of the people to hack Apple’s iPhone.
The hacking comp has stirred up a fair bit of controversy in the industry, with some claiming it promotes hacking or makes it appear glamorous.
To address the concern the contest’s organizers and sponsors required Miller to sign a non-disclosure agreement preventing him from revealing how he did the hack until Apple can be notified.